Millay Colony for the Arts

Promoting the vitality of the arts and the development of writers, visual artists, and composers by providing a retreat for creative work.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Artists Shares Vision with Fine Arts Students

Lilly Cox RichardAs part of a supplementary learning experience organized by the Millay Colony and the Arts program at Chatham High School, our Fine Arts class was fortunate enough to welcome Lily Cox-Richard into our classroom. Lily is currently an artist in residence at the Millay Colony and was generous enough to share her knowledge, and talent with our class. Lily achieved her MFA in sculpture and extended media from the Virginia Commonwealth University and her BFA in Jewelry/Metals from the California College of the Arts. Since then she has had a myriad of exhibitions of her amazing work that has continued to ask questions about life and causes people to question their own understanding.

Lily explained to the class that all of her work is supported and inspired through American history and research. Every piece is created through intense and thorough research and experiences that later create the understanding and foundation of the certain questions she intends to portray. For example, one of the pieces she shared was “Fruiting Bodies”. She discovered the Poor Farm in Manawa, WI, that once was a working facility for people that were unable to care for themselves due to poverty or mental illness. Now it acts as a canvas for artists to express themselves and the energy of the farm. Lily was personally drawn to the expansive cemetery and the humble marked graves but more dominantly the unmarked graves that were forgotten. As a representation of the unmarked graves and the connection to each other Lily created hundreds of sculpted mushrooms that she formed into rings on the property.

Another exhibit that Lily showed us was “Rapt” a sculpture study that was also inspired by cemeteries. Through her research of monuments and sculptures for the dead, she became increasingly interested in a particular aspect of the headstones- the hanging cloths that would often adorn the top of the headstones called shrouds. Upon developing this series of sculptures she began to ask many questions about the materials, origins, connections, and purpose of the sculpted fabric. The intensity and thoroughness of her research was revealed when she described her quest to understand the connection between the shrouds and the headstone itself in a marble mine. Lily felt that to fully answer her questions she had to spend time learning about the beginning of a sculpture in a mine. After her expansive research the final products were perfectly quizzical sculptures of shrouds without their accompanying headstones. As a result they looked as if they were floating, connecting them back to the cemeteries because of their ghostly resemblance.

Lily continued to show us and share with us her inner thoughts as these sculptures were created giving the class an intimate look into the full process of creating an exhibit. Lily further gave us an understanding of our potential futures and also inspired the class to develop their own artistic ideas and works. Thanks to Jude Harrigan and the Millay Colony the Fine arts class was able to connect the understanding of an artistic process while also being exposed to unique and thought provoking works of art.
- Grace Rugen, student, Senior Fine Arts Workshop

You can find this piece on the Chatham Schools Web site at

No comments:

Post a Comment